flashback friday: women’s land army

Reenactments are something I really, really enjoy doing, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend many last year at all. One of my favorite events is a WWII reenactment held at Fort Indiantown Gap every January in Annville, Pennsylvania: Battle of the Bulge Commemoration Living History Week. It’s only open to the public on Saturday (January 31st) but if you’re in the Annville area I highly recommend checking it out!

I’m not able to attend this year’s event either (insert super sad face) but I wanted to post a few photos from last year’s event that never made it to the blog. I did share just a few pictures last year of my Knit For Victory project, and a few more photos from the year before (which was my very first reenactment!), but neither of those posts included details of my Women’s Land Army impression, so I decided to do a bit of a flashback today.

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dubarry sewing – best colors for your type

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Today I have some images from a great sewing booklet by DuBarry Patterns, published in 1945. It includes tons of tips and techniques for sewing success as well as a really great color photo chart suggesting which colors suit you best! I’ve included both the full spread, and a much larger scan so you can actually read the text. I thought it would be a fun reference for Sew For Victory! I have not digitally enhanced the colors in order to keep them as true to the original printing as possible.

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I’m actually a little disappointed by the suggested colors for auburn hair and brown eyes haha! They seem a bit dull in comparison to some of the other palettes. Though I am lucky to have the “most perfect type of face” lol.

What does your hair and eye color suggest for you?
If you’re participating in Sew For Victory, did you pick one of the colors from your palette? I did!

xo
Rochelle

p.s. I’d really love to scan this entire booklet and make it available as a free download for you, but it’s around 60 pages I think so it will take me a while!

 

BUTTERICK FASHION NEWS – APRIL 1943

Another free download for you! This issue of Butterick Fashion News contains sixteen pages of beautiful illustrations of the latest sewing patterns available in April 1943. There are some seriously gorgeous styles in this one!

To purchase original catalogs (just like this one!) and sewing patterns, please visit Judy at vintage4me2. Judy is currently having a 40% off sale on all Buy It Now items until March 29th! (Yep, you can use your Sew For Victory coupon on top of that!!)

Please feel free to link to this page, pin this page, or send your friends here. Please do not redistribute, re-post, or sell these downloads (in whole or part) anywhere else. I have made it available FREE for you here on Lucky Lucille!

stitching

If you appreciate these little peeks into Fashion/Sewing history as much as I do, buy me a cuppa’ coffee to say thanks! Only if you want to, of course ;)

$3.00
stitching

eBookbutton

To open the eBook you must click the download button from an iPad or iPhone, in Safari browser, with iBooks installed. A new browser window will open and will appear blank for several seconds. It’s a pretty large file so the screen will look as if nothing is happening as the file loads, but soon you will be prompted to open the eBook in iBooks or a similar application, from that browser window.

PDFbutton

The PDF should open on any computer, tablet, and/or browser, but may take a little while to load. Again, the images are large. When the browser window opens, click the icon in the top toolbar (second icon in from the far right) to download and save the PDF.

Happy Reading!
Rochelle

authentic eyewear for vintage lovers

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Today I’m proud to announce my newest partner – Victory Optical! Victory Optical is a decades old company that was originally founded in 1941 by Vincent J. Salierno. At the height of their success, Victory was the leading name in fashion-forward eyewear with innovative designs that appealed to the likes of Buddy Holly, Dean Martin, and Connie Francis. After Vincent Salierno’s death the company ceased production but his family never ceased interest in eyewear trends.

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Today, the third and fourth generation of Victory Optical has resurrected the company to answer the call for vintage inspired frames, originally made popular by Vincent Salierno throughout the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.  Victory currently offers three collections of eyewear that are authentic to the company’s original designs: Heritage, Inspired, and Suntimers.

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I have four pairs of glasses (courtesy of Victory Optical) to review in total but first I’d like to show you the El Ria frames from the Heritage collection. The El Ria’s were made popular in the 50’s, but with their subtle cat eye shape and key hole bridge, they fit right in among the trend-setting shapes of the mid 40’s when women’s eyewear was just starting to progress as a fashionable accessory.

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Aside from the adorable mini V’s in the corners of the frames, I’m also in love with the mini key chains that accompany each pair. I decided they make very cute decorations for my mini pine tree!

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There are many “retro inspired” eyewear companies out there now, but none felt authentic to me until I found Victory Optical. I finally have a pair of frames that I feel comfortable wearing with my WWII impressions (I’ve seen cat eye frames as early as 1943!) as well as non-vintage clothing. Since I wear glasses everyday I’m always on the hunt for authentic reproductions that are durable, and more importantly, replaceable if something should ever happen to them. I found exactly what I was looking for with Victory Optical!

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Read more about the history of Victory Optical and check out their awesome original vintage advertisements. Also find Victory on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Buy Victory Optical frames at an eyewear location near you, or online at eyeglass.com.

If you’re in the market for new frames and crave true, authentic vintage, then look no further than Victory Optical! With designs in all your favorite 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s shapes (not to mention a lot of fun colors!) I bet you’ll find a must-have pair in no time. I know I did!

xo
Rochelle

free download – simplicity patterns nov. 1943

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Here’s a special Christmas edition of Simplicity’s mini sewing pattern catalog from 1943. Fun, festive stuff in this one!

Please feel free to link to this page, pin this page, or send your friends here. Please do not redistribute, re-post, or sell these downloads (in whole or part) anywhere else. I have made it available FREE for you here on Lucky Lucille!

stitching

If you appreciate these little peeks into Fashion/Sewing history as much as I do, buy me a cuppa’ coffee to say thanks! Only if you want to, of course ;)


$3.00

stitching

eBookbutton

To open the eBook you must click the download button from an iPad or iPhone, in Safari browser, with iBooks installed. A new browser window will open and will appear blank for several seconds. It’s a pretty large file so the screen will look as if nothing is happening as the file loads, but soon you will be prompted to open the eBook in iBooks or a similar application, from that browser window.

PDFbutton

The PDF should open on any computer, tablet, and/or browser, but may take a little while to load. Again, the images are large. When the browser window opens, click the icon in the top toolbar (second icon in from the far right) to download and save the PDF.

To purchase original catalogs (just like this one!) and sewing patterns, please visit Judy at vintage4me2.

For more free downloads, click here.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Happy Reading,
Rochelle

milkweeds for the war effort

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Recently I posted a photo of a funny looking plant that I grew up frolicking amongst every Fall: the Milkweed. I never thought much of them until I bought a book about the local history of my town and found this picture:

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Who knew those funny looking weeds played such an important roll in saving lives! After reading the caption I knew I had to do some research to find out more about the life saving Milkweed.

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The Milkweed pods contain seeds attached to a fluttery, silky “floss” which is actually quite buoyant. During WWII the Japanese cut off supply routes in the Dutch East Indies, causing the US to lose their main source of Kapok floss, which was the first choice for stuffing Mae West style life preservers. With the urgent need for an alternative, and no time to grow and harvest a crop to meet demands, the government called on America’s children to collect Milkweed pods wherever they were growing wild.

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The pods needed to be collected before they cracked open to ensure the floss remained inside. Onion sacks were handed out nation wide, with a price of 15 cents paid per bag that was filled with pods (with an additional 5 cents if the pods were pre dried). Two bags of pods contained enough floss for one life jacket. The U.S. military needed enough floss to fill 1.2 million life jackets, which totaled 2 million pounds of floss. – Fascinating, isn’t it? There’s a great article on pantagraph.com if you’d like to read more about it.

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Obviously there’s no need for Milkweed pod collection in 2013 (edit – I was mistaken, yes there is!), but I sure had fun pretending I was some sort of  Girl Scout on a mission to do my part for our boys overseas.

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The green pods may have been more useful, but the dried out broken pods are certainly more fun! They’re pretty magical on a blustery day, actually.

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I’ll tell you, I’ll never look at a Milkweed the same way again! It’s funny how you can go around seeing things and not understand their importance, until you do, and then it makes you appreciate the little things. …like weeds.

outfit details: dress – handmade, sweater and apron – vintage, boots – Payless.

xo
Rochelle

*I’m tied for first place!! Please vote for Lucky Lucille in the Craftsy Blogger Awards!*

 

 

Free Download – 1940 Simplicity PreVue Fashions

simplicity_prevue1940free

I have another free download for you! This little eight page booklet by Simplicity was published in 1939 and features their new line of patterns for the February 1940 season. It’s full of gorgeous illustrations in some surprisingly bright colors.

Please feel free to link to this page, pin this page, or send your friends here. Please do not redistribute, re-post, or sell these downloads (in whole or part) anywhere else. I have made it available FREE for you here on Lucky Lucille!

stitching

If you appreciate these little peeks into Fashion/Sewing history as much as I do, buy me a cuppa’ coffee to say thanks! Only if you want to, of course ;)


$3.00

stitching

simplicity_prevue1940free1

eBookbutton

To open the eBook you must click the download button from an iPad or iPhone, in Safari browser, with iBooks installed. A new browser window will open and will appear blank for several seconds. It’s a pretty large file so the screen will look as if nothing is happening as the file loads, but soon you will be prompted to open the eBook in iBooks or a similar application, from that browser window.

PDFbutton

The PDF should open on any computer, tablet, and/or browser, but may take a little while to load. Again, the images are large!

Please let me know if you have any problems with the downloads and check out my other freebies, here!

Happy reading!

xo
Rochelle

Sears and Roebuck 1942 Reproduction Outfit

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Here it is! My Fall For Cotton project inspired by a “Farmerette” outfit in the Fall/Winter Sears and Roebuck catalog from 1942. You can read more about my inspiration here, and see more garment construction photos here. I think that about sums it up as far as outfit explanation, so let’s just get to the photos!

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Here are some more, in black and white, just for good measure ;)

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Disclaimer: Even though I was in fact standing next to a real apple tree, I definitely brought my own apples to shoot on location bahaha! I’m so fancy like that.

Aww, you guys! I’m sad that Fall For Cotton is pretty much over! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated and submitted project photos to the Flickr pool. There were so many incredible garments made, and I’m sincerely proud of everyone’s effort and enthusiasm. A job well done all around!

I would like to have all photos in by the end of the day on Monday the 30th (tomorrow), but as long as you can get them in before the 4th, I will still include you in the wrap-up slide show next week.

Tasha and I will be hosting some giveaways as a special treat for those who completed a project on time, so check back on October 1st for your chance to win!

Thanks again for another fantastic sewalong.
xo
Rochelle

p.s. A huge thank you to my darling, William, who follows me around endlessly with a camera, trying to make me look good on this blog. I don’t give him near enough recognition <3 xoxo

Fall For Cotton – my project preview

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My Fall For Cotton projects are finished!! If you saw my inspiration post, you’d know I’ve been trying to recreate a women’s farm/factory outfit from the Fall/Winter Sears and Roebuck catalog of 1942. I put the buttons on my shirt this afternoon (nothing like procrastinating your own sewalong haha!) so I’m going to share some construction photos today, and some actual outfit photos tomorrow. I’m really happy with the way everything turned out, especially considering the time restraints I inflicted on myself.

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I decided not to re-make my muslin trousers, and instead made a style that is more wearable for me. I used Simplicity 3688 which is a 1940’s reproduction. This pattern makes for more of a swing style trouser, which I happen to love for everyday wear! I exchanged the front darts for pleats, and used a 7/8th inch seam allowance at the side seams in order to insert a lapped zipper (and still have room to finish the seams). I also added one side pocket like the catalog describes.

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I put off making the shirt until the absolute last minute (eh hem, yesterday) because I couldn’t decide which shirt I wanted to make, or how deep into pattern alteration I wanted to go. Ultimately I went with a blouse from a WWII era mail order pattern, even though I knew it wouldn’t be a perfect fit based on the listed measurements.

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Ideally, I would have made a muslin before committing to this pattern but with the lack of time I decided to wing it and hope for the best. The bodice is awkwardly short and wide, but luckily you won’t be able to tell when I tuck it in.6

I know vintage cuts end up looking more like modern crop-tops because the rise of pants were so much higher back then, but I’m guessing this pattern was meant for petites because it’s extra short on me! I can barely tuck it in the pants.

I finished the hem, and all other seams, with vintage seam binding that Tasha sent to me. With the extra short hemline and 3/8th inch seam allowance, I couldn’t do much else to finish them or I’d have no seams left!

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The mail order directions were less than helpful so I made up my own plan of attack for the collar. Many of the 1940’s blouses I’ve seen don’t have collar stands, which allows you to attach the collar really easily with a special trick.

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I drafted a facing for the back neck and attached it to the front facings at the shoulder seams. This allowed me to sew the finished collar to the shirt first, and then sew the facing over top of it, leaving the unfinished edges of the collar on the inside of the shirt. This is my favorite way to attach a collar because it’s so easy!

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I still need to give the outfit a good ironing before taking photos tomorrow, but I’m so excited to wear it!!

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At first I was a little upset that my stripes don’t match up at the front (I shouldn’t be surprised because I didn’t even think about it when cutting) until I looked at the catalog photo again and realized the model’s don’t either! Haha! How’s that for accidental authenticity? Stay tuned for more photos tomorrow, and don’t forget to submit your own project photos before the end of the day on Monday!

xo
Rochelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Non Printed Vintage Patterns – The Basics

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One thing that may intimidate people from using 1940’s patterns is the fact that many of them are “un-printed” or blank. This means that you won’t find any markings on the tissue like you do on modern sewing patterns. This lack of information is a little startling at first glance, but soon you’ll see that they’re really no different from a modern pattern.

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The first thing you need to do is check the contents of your pattern to make sure you have all of the pieces. Non printed patterns only come in one size per envelope, so the pattern will look as if it’s been cut out already.

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Carefully take everything out of the pattern envelope and cross reference your non-printed pieces with the pattern layout diagram found on the back of your envelope, or on the instructions (or both). You’ll be looking for a perforated letter to help you identify each piece.

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Now you can really see what I mean by the startling lack of information printed on the pattern pieces!

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You want to get the pattern pieces as flat as safely possible so you can accurately trace them onto your pattern tracing paper, and also so you can see what your pieces actually are. It will be hard to decipher a skirt front from the back until you can see the shape and the letter of each piece. You can use a dry iron on a medium setting to help flatten everything out. If the pattern tissue starts to curl or change color, your iron is too hot. It might take a few passes of slightly increasing temperature to get them flat. Remember to be careful and take your time. Some of my 40’s patterns are “dead stock”, meaning they’ve never been opened. That’s 70+ years of folds to iron out!

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When your pieces are all ironed flat it will be much easier to tell what’s what. You can see pieces “B” and “M” shown above. By referring to the diagram on the back, you know that piece B is the Bodice Back, and piece M is the Short Sleeve.

This next step is very important if you want to preserve the life of your vintage patterns. From a historical standpoint, some of my vintage patterns are 70-80 years old, and it’s important to me to preserve them as an actual piece of history. From a sewing standpoint, if you plan to make alterations of any kind, you won’t want to cut or mark on any original pattern pieces (this is true for both modern and vintage patterns). For example, if you cut into your original pattern to make a full bust adjustment, it’s nearly impossible to un-tape and revert your changes if you decide that FBA didn’t solve your fitting issue. It doesn’t take much time to trace your patterns and it’s a good habit to get into.

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There are many different kinds of papers you can use to trace patterns, but my favorite is Pellon 830 “Tracing Cloth”. This is my favorite to use because you can fold it up, and just as easily iron it out. If I had a dollar for every time I caught my cat sleeping on my traced pattern pieces, I would have a lot of dollars. No problem though, a lint roller and an iron erases all evidence of sleeping felines. You can find Pellon 830 at any Jo-Ann Fabric store, or most other quilt shops, and it is very inexpensive. You’ll want to buy at least as much yardage as your pattern suggests for fabric, but I usually buy 6 yards at a time or a whole bolt when I can. It’s good stuff to stock up on!

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Usually when tracing my patterns I’ll lay down a bunch of pattern pieces at once and sort of trace in bulk with one big piece of tracing cloth. For this demonstration I’m just using one small piece of tracing cloth and one pattern piece at a time, and that’s okay too. Pay attention to the directional layout of your pieces as indicated on the envelope, especially if you only need to cut one of your fabric. You want to make sure that all the pieces are going the right way. For example: if you have a wrap dress with a diagonal bodice front, you want to make sure the front overlapping piece is going in the correct direction and the facing matches, or you’ll get lost as you work through the sewing instructions (I’ve done this many times with installing zippers on the wrong side and it tends to make your life harder). Sometimes the perforated letters to identify the pieces are backwards or upside down, and that can be misleading when you lay your pattern down to trace it. So don’t go by the direction of the letter, go by the pattern diagram.

You’ll need a few things to get started. I’m tracing on top of my rotary cutting mat because it’s dark and that makes it easier to see the pattern outline through the tracing cloth, but any flat surface will do. You’ll need something to write with like a pen or pencil (markers work well too, just be careful the ink doesn’t bleed through onto your original pattern!), and a ruler. I use a clear quilting ruler with a grid, and a design ruler to help with curved edges. Having some kind of pattern weight is also helpful to prevent your tracing paper from sliding around. I use an antique mini iron as a weight now, but before I just used my phone, a mug, or any other random things I could find.

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Tracing cloth does not have a grain or anything like that, so it doesn’t matter which way you lay it down on top of your pattern. I start by making small marks around all the corners so I can quickly line everything back up if something shifts, and then I trace the straight edges of the pattern.

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Next, I trace all the curved edges. Having these fancy looking rulers is not a necessity, so don’t think you need to go out and buy them specifically for pattern tracing, but as you get more serious about sewing and pattern making you’ll find they’re a nice thing to have laying around.

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After tracing the basic shape, go back through and trace all of your markings. All of the perforated dots and notches mean something, so it’s important to transfer them.

You may be wondering what all of those little dots mean. Well look to your pattern diagram and they’ll start to make sense.

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There will be a series of larger and smaller dots, as well as notches. The notches, like on modern patterns, help you identify the front and back of pieces and also help you line everything up correctly. On this particular pattern, the larger dots found in the middle of the pattern mark your “straight of material” (or straight of grain) and pieces to be cut on the fold. The smaller dots on this pattern mark center front, seam allowances, fabric tucks, and other general placement. On other patterns, those dots will signify darts, gathering, and things like that. Is this all starting to make a bit more sense? Here’s another step to really make things look a bit more familiar for modern times:

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You’ll notice that I’ve drawn the arrowed line, to signify that I need to cut the Bodice Back on the fold, instead of tracing the three large dots as shown on the original piece. I’ve also written some other information as far as what the pattern is, what the size is, and some other things that we’re used to seeing on modern sewing patterns. Now I would say this pattern looks pretty “normal”, wouldn’t you?

I will go more in depth on working with vintage darts and other vintage sewing techniques in a later post, but I hope this has been helpful for you to get started with sewing from 1940’s patterns!

xo
Rochelle